It’s a good old-fashioned case of good news, bad news. Which would you like first? Ok, good news: The Tour de France is going ahead this year, bad news: without Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas.
Sadly, but not totally unexpectedly, Chris and Geraint have been left out of Team Ineos for this year’s Tour de France. Team Ineos, who were formerly Team Sky, have won the Tour de France every year since 2015. For this year’s Tour, beginning on the 29th August, the team have decided instead to back in-form 23-year-old Colombian Egan Bernal (last year’s winner) as their lead rider and the 2019 Giro d’Italisa winner Richard Carapaz for his debut ride of the Tour. The rest of the squad as follows: Andrey Amador, Jonathan Castroviejo, Michal Kwiatkowski, Luke Rowe, Pavel Sivakov and Dylan van Baarle.
4 Time winner Chris Froome who is still recovering from a fractured right femur, a broken hip, a fractured elbow and fractured ribs from his crash a year ago, is unfortunately not yet at his peak performance. He will instead be focusing leading the team at the Vuelta a Espana in October. Froome describes the decision to target the Vuelta as “more realistic” and “something that’s deliverable”. He’s had support and kind words from Team Boss Dave Brailsford who said “ Chris is a true champion who has demonstrated incredible grit and determination to come back from his crash last year. We want to support him to compete for another Grand Tour title and the Vuelta gives him that little bit more time to continue his progress to the top level.”
But it’s not all roses between Froome and Team Ineos as they have decided not to renew his contract after some frustrated negotiations. Froome is believed to be not happy with the team for failing to reprimand last year’s Tour winner Bernal over comments he made in April regarding not moving over to let Froome lead the team if he was in a winning position. Team Ineos feeling that they have shown Froome a lot of support during his post-crash rehabilitation. A sad end to a very successful partnership.
What of 2018 Tour Winner Geraint Thomas? He’s instead focusing his training towards the Giro d’Italia in a bid to be the first Welshman to win the event and add another ‘Grand Tour’ title to his name. Geraint says that he is looking forward to trying to get the Pink Jersey, and will be cracking on with his training from the weekend.
This will be the first time in several seasons without a British yellow jersey winner in the peloton. But we have been spoilt with this wonderful run of champions, so we should not be too sad, rather celebrating the how successful British road cycling has been since that summer of 2012. Looking forward into who is up-and-coming; perhaps Adam Yates who won best young rider at the Tour de France in 2016, will be one to watch this year. Yates, riding for Mitchelton-Scott is said to be aiming for race wins in this year’s tour, so we’ll be looking forward to cheering him on.
Keep up-to-date with all the latest from the Tour at: https://www.letour.fr/en/